- The Washington Times - Monday, December 19, 2016

Maybe it’s a good thing that Congress is away for the holidays. Out of a broad range of 22 professions, the nation’s lawmakers are ranked at the very bottom of the list when it comes to bedrock values of honesty and ethics, says a Gallup poll released Monday.

Only 8 percent of the respondents gave members of Congress a positive rating for honesty and ethical standards. Senators did a little better, managing to garner 12 percent, while state governors reached 18 percent. Amazingly, oft-vilified journalists got 23 percent — still earning the approval of less than a quarter of the respondents.

Nurses topped the list with 84 percent, with pharmacists in a somewhat distant second place with 67 percent and doctors at 65 percent. See more numbers in the Poll du Jour at column’s end.

NEW YORK TIMES: SCANT ON DIVERSITY

The New York Times is “preaching the gospel of diversity, but not following it,” according to Liz Spayd, the public editor for the news organization.

“Only two of the 20-plus reporters who covered the presidential campaign for The New York Times were black. None were Latino or Asian. That’s less diversity than you’ll find in Donald Trump’s Cabinet thus far. Of The Times’s newly named White House team, all six are white, as is most everyone in the Washington bureau,” Ms. Spayd writes in a surprising new essay published by The Times.

“Metro has only three Latinos among its 42 reporters, in a city with the second largest Hispanic population in the country. Sports has one Asian man, two Hispanics and no African-Americans among its 21 reporters, yet blacks are plentiful among the teams they cover and the audience they serve. In the Styles section, every writer is white, while American culture is anything but,” she continues.

“The executive editor, Dean Baquet, is African-American. The other editors on his masthead are white. The staff with the most diversity? The news assistants, who mostly do administrative jobs and get paid the least.”

Ms. Spayd concludes: “It is possible to change this. But The Times will need more humility, introspection and openness than has been its habit in the past.”

SO MUCH FOR ‘TRUMP BULLYING’

A local report from Queens, New York, seems to counter repeated suggestions from press and pundits that Donald Trump’s win on Election Day would create turmoil in neighborhoods known for their immigrant populations and diversity.

“Worries about a spike in anti-immigration bullying in city schools after the election of Donald Trump are based on ‘rumors’ rather than actual incidents,” says DNA New York, an online news organization that tracks news throughout New York City and its boroughs — including a recent school board meeting.

“Asked about post-election harassment, New York City Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina told parents at a meeting in Staten Island that only three cases had been confirmed since the election — and that the majority of reports turn out to be unfounded,” DNA reported.

“I don’t think this was as rampant as people were saying. There’s a lot of rumors going around,” Ms. Farina told the group, advising that she would need names and specific details or reported incidents before acting on them.

“I do think we need to — and we’re going to start doing — a lot more civics education,” she added.

THE GREENS GET GRUFF

The Green Party has joined MoveOn.org and at least a half-dozen other groups who plan major protests in the nation’s capital for Inauguration Day, now 24 days off. The Greens are wary of President-elect Donald Trump, of course, but they also appear annoyed at everyone else as well.

“We knew, no matter who was to be elected, Trump or Hillary Clinton, the voices of the 99 percent would be shut out. We are calling for unity to stand against the oligarchy and demand representation for the people,” declares Green Party co-chair Darryl L.C. Moch.

“Greens are also protesting Democrats and moderate Republicans whose response to Mr. Trump’s extremist agenda will be accommodation, compromise and capitulation. The real opposition party during the next four years will be Greens, not Democrats,” says Mr. Moch.

GOP OPTIMISM ‘SURGING’

The Ripon Society recently staged in the nation’s capital a public briefing addressing the uneasy state of politics. The featured expert: Carroll Doherty, director of political research for the Pew Research Center. Among the happier trends he revealed: GOP optimism about the economy is “surging” as the new year looms, with 75 percent of Republicans agreeing that the economy will be better in the next 12 months.

“We haven’t seen anything like this,” Mr. Doherty told his audience, calling it a positive finding and adding that Republicans are convinced that President-elect Donald Trump is “really going to change the economy.”

But can he reverse the public’s persistent lack of faith in government, an audience member asked.

“The question is a really good one because both sides are distrusting of government. It’s not necessarily that partisan of an issue,” Mr. Doherty replied. “It’s a real problem for Congress and the administration — rebuilding this trust. That being said, a healthy economy cures a lot of ills. And if this economy really does take off, I think you’ll see a little more faith in government.”

The Ripon Society, incidentally, is a public policy organization promoting strong national security, low taxes and a smaller, smarter federal government.

POLL DU JOUR

84 percent of Americans say nurses have “high” or “very high” ethical standards and levels of honesty.

67 percent similarly cite pharmacists, 65 percent cite medical doctors, 65 percent cite engineers, 59 percent cite dentists, 58 percent cite police officers, 47 percent cite college teachers and 44 percent cite clergy.

38 percent cite psychiatrists, 38 percent cite chiropractors, 24 percent cite bankers, 23 percent cite journalists, 18 percent cite lawyers, 18 percent cite state governors, 17 percent cite business executives.

12 percent cite U.S. senators, 12 percent cite HMO managers, 12 percent cite stockbrokers, 11 percent cite advertising personnel, 11 percent cite insurance salespeople, 9 percent cite car sales people, 8 percent cite members of Congress.

Source: A Gallup poll of 1,028 U.S. adults conducted Dec. 7-11.

• Murmurs and asides to jharper@washingtontimes.com

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